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5 Simple Ways to Save Money on Food

Posted By Jessica Fisher On February 7, 2014 @ 7:00 am In Budget Living,Frugal Friday,Good Eats,Grocery Geek | 20 Comments

Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can’t control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

Once upon a time, 1994 to be exact, I spent more to feed me and my husband than I did to feed four kids ten years later. In those newlywed days we spent $500 a month eating like kings — and wasting a lot of food.

Today, we’ve learned a few things and are much better stewards of our resources, spending between $800 and $1000 each month to feed our family of 8. The most recent food cost data from the USDA [3] says we should be spending between $1211 (thrifty) and $2422 (liberal) for a family of our size and composition. Clearly I was spending in the liberal category back in 1994!

Grocery costs continually rise. With the increased costs of energy (for transportation as well as food storage), it’s a natural economic progression. Yet, there are things we can all do to save money on food.

Here are five simple ways you can trim your bill, no coupons required:

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

1. Eat what you have.

Now, some may say this isn’t really a savings if you’ve already paid for it. But, so much of our food goes to waste because we buy more than we need. Using up what you got is a great way to reduce waste and save money.

Consider a week or two doing a Pantry Challenge [4]. You can easily save some coin by focusing on the food you already have.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

2. Only buy things that are on sale.

Back when I was a newlywed, I bought chicken when I wanted chicken. That meant I might pay $5 or $6/pound for boneless, skinless chicken breast. Today I never do that. I buy ingredients when they are sale, stocking a few extra in the freezer to use later.

I make chicken when I want it, but I’ve bought it only when the price is right.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

3. Bake it yourself.

Home baking is not rocket science; it just takes a little time and attention. You can make a loaf of bread or a batch of rolls for very little money. These simple Italian rolls [5] only cost ten cents a piece to make, but you’d easily pay five times that at the store. And they wouldn’t be five times as tasty.

You can bake a couple times a week and save a good chunk of change.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

4. Eat at home.

I love take-out and restaurant food just like the next girl, but I also know that we can save LOADS of money when we eat at home [6] instead. Avoiding take-out [7] has the potential to turn your food budget around.

Make a plan [8] to eat more meals at home.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

5. Eat less.

No, I’m not recommending a starvation diet, but I would hazard a guess that most of us eat more than we truly need to. I know I do. Portion control is a great way to eat more healthfully as well as to save money. Every night does not need to be a feast. As a spoiled American, I tend to gravitate more toward feasting than I do moderation.

Enough is as good as a feast, especially when it helps you live within your means.

5 Simple Ways to Save on Food - Groceries are one of the biggest spending categories where you can save. You can't control prices, but how you shop and feed your family can save you money.

This is Frugal Friday. In an effort to make these weekly financial discussions more interactive, I’m no longer posting a link-up. Feel free to leave a link in the comments. But better yet, chat with us on today’s topic.

How do YOU save money on food?


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[1] RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/lifeasmom/oGdA

[2] free updates via email: http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=lifeasmom/oGdA

[3] most recent food cost data from the USDA: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm

[4] Pantry Challenge: http://goodcheapeats.com/2014/01/preparing-for-a-pantry-challenge/

[5] simple Italian rolls: http://goodcheapeats.com/2014/02/italian-sandwich-rolls/

[6] eat at home: http://lifeasmom.com/2014/01/eat-at-home-more-often.html

[7] Avoiding take-out: http://goodcheapeats.com/2013/01/8-ways-to-avoid-eating-out/

[8] Make a plan: http://goodcheapeats.com/2014/01/ive-got-a-meal-plan-now-what/

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